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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 8, 2010

Blaise, UI emeritus faculty member, wins Canada's highest civilian honor

Writer Clark Blaise, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and former director of the UI International Writing Program, has been elected an Officer of the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is the country's highest civilian honor.

Among the other American-resident Canadians being honored this year are the filmmaker Ivan Reitman, rocker Neil Young and hockey star Mario Lemieux.

Established in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centerpiece of Canada's honors system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Blaise was cited for "For his contributions to Canadian letters as an author, essayist, teacher, and founder of the post-graduate program in creative writing at Concordia University," now the largest such program in Canada.

Among Blaise's previous honors are the 1980 Books in Canada First Novel Award for "Lunar Attractions," National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowships, the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize for "Time Lord," nonfiction Book of the Year from the Canadian Booksellers Association for "I Had a Father," an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and an honorary doctorate from McGill University in Montreal.

He is the author of three novels, nine collections of short stories, two memoirs and seven nonfiction books. His story collection "The Meagre Tarmac" will come out later this year.

Blaise, the president of the Society for the Study of the Short Story, returned to the UI to teach in the Writers' Workshop, directed the International Writing Program 1990-98 and is now a UI emeritus faculty member.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Clark Blaise,; Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,